White, Charles Ignatius
WHITE, CHARLES IGNATIUS
Editor, author; b. Baltimore, Maryland, Feb. 1, 1807; d. Washington, D.C., April 1, 1878. White was the son of John and Nancy (Coombs) White. After graduation from Mt. St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, he studied theology at Saint-Sulpice, Paris. He was ordained in Paris at Notre Dame on June 5, 1830. Shortly after ordination, he was assigned (1833–43) to the Baltimore Cathedral, where he had access to important sources of ecclesiastical history. From 1843 to 1845 he served as professor of moral theology at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore. He attended several Provincial and Plenary Councils of Baltimore as secretary or theologian. From 1857 until his death, he was pastor of St. Matthew's Church (later Cathedral), Washington, D.C. There he built a church, a school, and a home for aged African-Americans. He also founded and established the St. Vincent de Paul Society in the District.
As an editor, White was responsible for the annual Catholic directory (1834–57) and for Baltimore's archdiocesan weekly, the Catholic Mirror (1850–55). He was cofounder (1842) of the Religious Cabinet, a monthly periodical, that was renamed the United States Catholic Magazine (1843–48) and revived in 1853 as the Metropolitan Magazine. Besides translating Chateaubriand's The Genius of Christianity (1856) and Charles Sainte Foi's Mission and Duties of Young Women (1858), White wrote two significant studies. His Life of Mrs. Eliza A. Seton, Foundress and First Superior of the Sisters of Charity in the United States (1853) was the first full-length biography of Mother Seton. Its scholarship was lacking in White's essay, "Sketch of the Origin and Progress of the Catholic Church in the United States of America," which appeared in an English translation of Joseph E. Darras's General History of the Catholic Church (1866). This popular historical sketch propagated many enduring legends about Abp. John carroll and played a large part in forming Protestant opinion of American Catholicism prior to the work of John Gilmary shea.
Bibliography: j. p. cadden, The Historiography of the American Catholic Church: 1785–1943 (Washington 1944). a. t. english, "The Historiography of American Catholic History (1785–1884)," American Catholic Historical Review 11 (1926) 561–598.
[r. j. cunningham]